Warrant Officer John Hugh LEES

Service No: 410069
Born: Bendigo VIC, 8 February 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1941
Unit: No. 196 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 196 Squadron Stirling aircraft LJ842), Wiltshire, 4 April 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John William and Mary Jane Lees, of Diggora South, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Rochester VIC
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1820 hours on the evening of 4 April 1944 Stirling LJ842 took off from RAF Station Keevil detailed carry out a Horsa glider towing exercise. The aircraft crashed at dusk at 2100 hours near Ramsey and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of LJ842 were:

Sergeant Sidney Claypole (1229967) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer John Hugh Lees (410069) (Pilot)
Sergeant Shayrene Meera (1697800) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Kenrick Payne (408353) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Robert Teece (145397) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Thomas Wilkinson (1532527) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)

A report into the accident stated “The Horsa had either just cast off or the rope broke near Petersfield and the tug was probably heading for base. The reasons for the crash are unclear. LJ842 was seen flying over Romsey at a low altitude and not in any apparent difficulty. It was possible that the pilot was flying above 10/10ths cloud over Winchester and came down to see where he was, but got too low and in avoiding a slight hill over Romsey, the aircraft stalled and it struck the ground at a fairly steep angle.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/24/415


Holmes, Steve with Ken Scott Sherlock’s Squadron: The Incredible true story of the unsung RAF heroes of World War II, John Blake Publishing, London UK, 2013

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